- Reading time: four minutes
- Word count: 605
- Published: 4 sept 2013
- Author: Matador the First
- Copyright: Matador the First, 2013
I saved David Foster Wallace for last because his work violated my rule: It was nonfiction.
Houston looks familiar from the air: a bigger, more sprawling Orlando, cheaper to live in. When the plane lands in Houston I have thirty minutes to make it across twenty-five minutes’ worth of airport. But by the time the crew gets my carry-on out of the belly of the tiny airplane I have twenty minutes to sprint across twenty-five minutes of airport. I take off my sandals to sprint—
After Clemens I slowly worked my way through faceless fiction anthologies, short-story collections, books borrowed from friends—most all of them unfinished, and half unstarted.
but not just yet. When I was a kid I learned that in the ancient Jewish culture running in public was considered improper, undignified—especially for a man. It always amazed me because I couldn’t imagine living in a culture that in effect forbade running in public. But today on the cool metallic tiled airport floors, when I settle for walking fastish over running, I can’t stop thinking how suspicious I’d be for running through an airport: He must have planted something, or stolen something. No one else is running, why’s he running? Innocent people don’t run.
I started with Mark Twain: In middle and high school his stories made me laugh the most.
Not like there’s actually space for it anyway. Before long I come to a tall slow escalator with no stairs beside it, and in the small confused common area at its top the people crowd too thick for me to move too quick and when that area ends there’s another set of escalators but this time with stairs, which I take two at a time to climb faster to reach the top in time to see the tram leave and have the doors close right afront me.
When it got so that I was constantly remembering the fictions, which meant I never could forget all my own mistakes, I decided to burn every book on the wood shelf in my room.
Seventy-five seconds till the next tram. Unless I run, I’ve missed my flight. You can’t run when you’re waiting in the spot you’re supposed to be waiting for what you’re waiting for, because you’ll miss it. And you can’t run on a tram. Not productively. At least it’s only one terminal over: B to C. No stops in between.
I stopped reading fiction when it started reminding me of my own mistakes.
Do I believe in this? Not the story, not the background, but the piece itself? Do I believe in what I’m writing?
I started reading fiction so I could laugh at the invented mistakes of people who never lived.
Long story short, with my heavy knapsack wobbling on my back and my carry-on running along the ground behind me, I run through Terminal C and get to my gate three minutes before scheduled departure. I’ve made it in time
So the answer’s No.
to have one of the United people tell me my plane’s already pushing off.
Twirling up and away in flame and smoke belched from an old rusted-out barrel, the cinders of Wallace’s True Words™. The real reason I saved him for last: Having never met me he wrote me, or someone like me, on the page, and then he killed himself.
I stopped writing so I could forget my mistakes.
The thing to remember about DFW’s nonfiction is that it was closer to his fiction than his own fiction was.
At least I can get hard cider just over from the gate. God bless Texas.